July 5, 2016
During the month of June, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) convened a conference entitled “Prospects for Minority and Indigenous Rights in South East Asia: Towards Regional Cooperation?” in the European Parliament. The conference focused on the realities experienced by our members from the region, while looking at the good example set by Taiwan and discussing the frameworks in place in Europe to protect minorities.
The event, kindly hosted by Urmas Paet MEP (ALDE) and supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Haëlla Foundation, was also aimed at raising awareness of the specific situation of various UNPO members in the region, including the Hmong, Acheh, the indigenous communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts population and the Khmer Krom. Two of these groups, the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Hmong, also met with Members of the European Parliament, officials of the European Commission and EEAS and other relevant stakeholders to inform them about the human rights violations they are suffering and to discuss the possible support that the EU can offer them. What emerged from all the discussions and meetings is that there is no comprehensive mechanism for minorities and indigenous groups in Asia to make their voice heard and ensure that their interests are taken into account. The way forward lies in common action between different minority and indigenous groups from the region, but also between these representatives, EU policy-makers and relevant NGOs to work more effectively towards inclusion of these groups in the decision-making processes affecting them directly.
To read more about our past and upcoming activities, download the June edition of the UNPO Newsletter.